بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, I mentioned that I was going to start a new series in Ramadan. It’s called “An Introduction to the Lord of the Worlds”.
It’ll be a discussion about…well, Allah. I’m not going to discuss each of His Names but rather mention some of His Names and Attributes and explain how it affects us. I’m not going to go into detail, rather I wish to give an overview so that we feel motivated to learn more about Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I thought that it would be a good idea to remind ourselves of the virtues of Ramadan from the Quran and the Sunnah.
[Yes, many of us might know these but we all need reminders now and then.]
The Month of Fasting
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 183]
“[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 184]
The Month of the Quran, Guidance, Gratitude and Generosity
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس ، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان حين يلقاه جبريل ، وكان يلقاه في كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن ، فلرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود بالخير من الريح المرسلة
Narrated Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel* met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran. Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 5]
[*For those new to Islam, Jibreel = Gabriel (the angel).]
The Month of Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) and Dua (supplication)
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 186]
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Part 1.]
An important point regarding reciting the Quran:
I’ve noticed that many people do not recite the Quran daily and they do not recite it in order.
What do I mean by “in order”? Well, one is supposed to recite the Quran from Al-Fatihah, then move on to Al-Baqarah and so on until one reaches Surah An-Naas (the last Surah).
After that, one returns to Al-Fatihah and starts all over again.
That’s what the Sahaabah (the Companions of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)) did. Some of them recited the whole Quran in a month, others completed it in a week and still others finished it in three days.
[Yes, that may sound impossible but it’s not.]
I asked a couple of sisters about how they recited the Quran and they said they just picked up the mushaf and recited the parts that they liked. Well, okay that’s fine but one should also attempt to recite from start to finish, even if that takes a year.
Also, it seems that some people have gotten confused about the fact that the Sahaabah used to study ten ayaat (verses) of the Quran at a time. Yes, they did but this was apart from their daily recitation.
Apart from reciting the Quran in order, one should sure to recite some of it daily even if you can only manage to recite a few verses. Don’t sleep without doing that, no matter how tired you are.
Just think about this: What if you were in bed and you realised that the gas stove was switched on or that you had left your car keys in your car (some people do that!)? Would you still go to sleep?
No! You’d jump out of bed and solve the problem.
So, if you’re in bed and you realise that you haven’t recited your daily portion of the Quran, then get up and do it. This way, you’ll make sure that it becomes a habit.
Oh and please remember to recite with tajweed. The whole point of learning how to recite properly is to….well, recite properly.
3) To understand it
In order to understand the Quran, one needs to understand Arabic.
I’ve put some tips up on my series on learning Arabic (here’s Part 5).
I should point out a few things here:
a) Even if you don’t understand Arabic, you can still understand the Quran to some degree by using a translation.
Try to use more than one so that you end up getting a more complete picture of the portion that you are reciting. The two most accurate translations are the Muhsin Khan one and the Saheeh international one. You could also use a word to word translation of the Quran.
[Yesterday, I heard of a story of an agnostic Jew who read 4 translations side by side and also used an Arabic dictionary along with it!]
For those of you who are struggling to recite and understand the Quran, you could use the following site:
http://tanzil.net – It has both audio and translation. You could play each ayah, then recite after it and then read the translation.
b) Translations are not enough.
You know, I’m in the process of listening to a rather wonderful lecture series by one of my teachers entitled “How can you understand the Quran?”
The sad news (for those that don’t understand Arabic) is that this series is in Arabic. [For those of you who can understand Arabic, you can download it here.]
Now, the purpose of me mentioning that was not to rub it in your faces, rather it was to make you ponder.
Why would ARABS need to know how to understand the Quran? Don’t they know Arabic?
Yes, they can understand the words but that does not necessitate that they understand the intended meaning of the ayaat (verses).
Unfortunately, many people think that they can study the Quran on their own by just understanding the meaning of the words. This is not correct.
Why not? Because when Allah revealed the Quran, He also sent a Prophet to explain His Book, so we need to refer back to him (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions (radiallahu anhum) in order to understand the meaning of the ayaat and the context in which they were revealed.
So, one needs a tafsir (explanation) to fully understand the Quran. And one is not enough. If you are able to read ten, then you should read ten. If you can read a hundred, then you should read a hundred. The Quran is a treasure. Reading just one tafsir is not going to give you the whole treasure.
Apart from the tafsir, one should also try to study the sciences of the Quran. These deal with the language of the Quran, the reasons for revelation of various ayaat, etc.
Insha-Allah, in the next part, I’ll mention some word-to-word websites and books, various tafsir books as well as some courses and books on the sciences of the Quran.
[And yes, I will only mention English resources…]
c) Don’t forget the whole point of learning all this stuff.
We’re not in a race to see who will read the most books. However, we are in a race to see who will have the highest iman and who will have the most amount of good deeds.
So, the point is not to finish as many tafsirs as possible. What is the point of studying the Quran then? The point of studying the Quran and its sciences is to ponder over its message.
The message? It’s tawheed (worshipping Allah alone). The whole Quran is just about that one topic. It introduces us to Allah, His Power, His Mercy, His Majesty and His other attributes* and it tells us what we need to do in order to get closer to Him. It also talks about what awaits those who follow His orders and what awaits those who don’t.
[*Remember that the Quran is the Speech of Allah and hence is one of His attributes as well.]
Unfortunately, many people today will talk about the Quran and discuss everything except tawheed. It’s sad but true.
So, we should not be like them. Rather, we should strive to remember the purpose of reciting the Quran whilst doing so.
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Subhan Allah, it’s amazing. I’ve noticed that when topics like “dawah” or “hijab” or “Hajj” or “Ramadan” or “the biography of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)”, are discussed, many people flock to listen.
However, when the topic is aqeedah (creed) then………most of the people vanish.
And why is that, I wonder? The most important thing that a Muslim needs to have is the correct aqeedah. Everything else (ibaadah, good manners, etc) follows after that.
I’ve mentioned the importance of tawheed and aqeedah before and I’ll do so again.
[Note: Tawheed means “worshipping Allah alone” whereas Aqeedah is something that one firmly believes in and follows. So, our aqeedah is the aqeedah of tawheed.
Aqeedah is more general than tawheed. You can read a short explanation of this issue here.]
This is what Imam As-Saadi (rahimahullah) had to say about tawheed:
“There is nothing that produces such good results nor holds such a variety of virtues like tawheed”. [For more virtues of tawheed, you may refer to the article where this quote was taken from.]
Tawheed has different branches. One of those is the tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes.
As the scholars pointed out, the greatness of a subject depends on the greatness of its subject matter.
What does the tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes discuss? Well, it talks about Allah’s Beautiful Names and His Attributes which means that it is talking about Allah Himself.
Is there a subject matter greater than this? No.
Therefore, this is the greatest subject.
Also, one should realise that they cannot get close to Allah without knowing anything about Him! The more one knows about Allah’s Names and His Attributes, the more that they will love and obey Him.
So, if someone is interested in studying this subject, what should he/she do?
Well, the first thing to do is to make sure that you learn it from a person with proper aqeedah, because if you don’t, you’re finished. Your aqeedah will be in tatters if you ever study this great subject with any of the people of innovation.
Also, one should know that this field talks about two matters: 1) Allah’s Names and 2) His Attributes so one should study both matters.
A point of caution: This is not an easy subject although it is a very important one. So be patient, strive hard, and ask Allah to make it easy for you.
For those who might want to learn more about Allah’s Attributes, I would encourage them to read Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen’s (rahimahullah) explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah.
Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah is a book written by the amazing scholar Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) (he was the teacher of Imams Ibn Kathir and Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahumullah)) and it basically focus on the Attributes of Allah and what the Quran and the Sunnah say about them.
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen was an awesome scholar, maasahaa Allah, who died about 10 years ago. He had a really wonderful way of explaining things so all the hard stuff looks easy.
I read Volume 1 of the translation of his book (the explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah) and I loved it. Why?
– Well, it’s about my favourite subject (tawheed)
– He makes it so easy and tries to give many examples so that a person can understand the concept.
– His tafsir.
I know, you might be like “Tafsir? Isn’t that an explanation of the Quran? What does that have to do with a book on Aqeedah?”
Well, because a vast majority of the book are ayaat (verses) from the Quran and because he explains each of them, this book really ends up doubling as a book of tafsir.
[And Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen’s tafsir is another story. I need to write another post just to tell you how much I love reading his tafsir.]
– The heart softeners.
You know, there is nothing as heart softening as tawheed.
In this explanation, Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen keeps talking about “behavioural aspects” meaning how the knowledge of such and such attribute must make us behave. So, rather than being a technical book on tawheed, his explanation is very practical and useful for daily life.
So, am I going to link to this explanation? No, because it’s not online (not that I know of).
There is a summarised translation of this explanation online but it seems to be a quarter of the original size.
How can you get your hands on the two volume copy? Well, Darussalam is the one that published this book so you may it buy from them.
This is what the book looks like: http://store.dar-us-salam.com/nw/242.html
Just a few points:
1) Darussalam has another explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah as well. That is a small book but the one that I’m talking about is much more detailed.
2) For those of you who might want to buy the Arabic copy and live in Dubai, I’d advise you to buy it from Al-Furqan bookstore. That’s where I bought my Arabic copy from and it’s a wonderful edition.
3) Would I recommend this book to complete beginners? Well, no. I think one should have some background of tawheed otherwise they might get a bit confused.
4) The book doesn’t just talk about Allah’s Attributes. There’s loads of other stuff mentioned there as well.
5) I’m not too good with book reviews but I hope that the post encourages you to read this book!
6)Yes, yes, yes. Anyone who knows me personally can borrow my Arabic or English copies, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[No, no, I am not Bengali, not even close. I just came across a translation of this book in Bengali by mistake.]
Yes, even more stuff on tawheed. Can anyone ever get tired of tawheed?
[Well, only if he/she has a really diseased heart, I suppose.]
Here’s one of the better books in English on this topic. It really simplifies matters greatly.
It’s one of those “must read” books.
[Click on the image to download the book.]
Here’s the Bengali translation. I’m assuming that it’s authentic. However, could someone, who knows Bengali, please check it against the English text as well? Jazakumullahu kheira.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
If you ask the average Muslim a few questions about Ramadan and fasting (the 4th Pillar of Islam), he/she would know quite a bit.
If you ask that same person a few questions about the Shahaadah (the 1st Pillar of Islam), he /she will be less likely to answer them.
Why? Well, honestly, I have no clue.
I can’t understand why people who give no importance to the first three pillars of Islam would give so much importance to the fourth one. Haven’t they heard of “priorities”?
So, how much do we all know about the first pillar of Islam? After all, the entire religion is based on this statement.
We can easily give a one hour talk on it………..right?
If the answer is no, then it’s time to learn about this statement right now.
Here’s nice, easy, comprehensive book which talks about the meaning and benefits of the Shahaadah:
The Declaration of Faith by Shaikh Saleh Al-Fawzan
[Click on the image to download the book.]
What is true love?
And who should we love and how should we love?
Before we come to what “true” love is, I’ll try to answer the other two questions, insha-Allah:
1) Who should we love?
Well, before we answer this, we need to understand that there are two kinds of love. Shaikh Salih Al-Fawzan states:
“Generally, love is of two kinds: particular and general. The first kind is the love connected with worship, which requires perfect submission and obedience to the worshipped one. This kind is only to be confined to Allah.
The second kind of love may exist in the following forms:
1. It may be an intrinsic attachment such as the hungry craving for food.
2. It may be a feeling of tender concern such as the parental care of a child.
3. It may also be a feeling of amiability such as cordial relations between friends.
All these forms do not necessitate submission or surrender and do not consequently affect due attachment to Allah. Although these forms are not acts of shirk (polytheism), they should be subsequent to real and true emotional attachment to Allah, which is maintained in Allah’s saying:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّـهِ
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 165]“
[Quoted from “Guide to Sound Creed”, pg. 75]
I’ll come back to this ayah (verse), insha-Allah, in future parts, because this is one of the most important ayaat pertaining to the love of Allah.
2) How should we love?
Now that we know that our love is to be directed to Allah as He is the one deserving of it, how should we love Him?
Is it just by proclaiming “I love Allah!”
Well, no. As we can see from the previous ayah, even the disbelievers love Allah but Allah says that the believers love Him more. So how exactly do the believers love Allah?
Well, this is answered in another ayah:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّـهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّـهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah Aal-Imran (3) : 31]
It is mentioned that this ayah was revealed after some people “claimed” to be love Allah.
As we can see, this ayah tells us how to PROVE that we love Allah.
And how do we prove it? By following the way of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
Why is that? Let me explain:
If we love Allah, we’ll try to gain His love. He has revealed to the Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) what He loves and what He does not love. Therefore, we need to follow the Messenger’s (salallahu alaihi wasallam) way so that we do that which Allah loves and keep away from that which He does not love. This is how we will gain His love.
Ask yourself: do you claim to love Allah? If so, do you follow the Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam)?
Remember: Actions speak louder than words.
Insha-Allah, I’ll talk more about following and loving the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) in the next part.
Note: Sorry, that “love” post will be delayed for another day due to unavoidable circumstances.
However, I would like to share some words of Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) about the love of Allah, as it is relevant to the article that I’m going to write.
You might be thinking “Huh? Love of Allah has some relevance to Valentine’s Day and celebrating the Prophet’s (salallahu alahi wasallam) birthday??”.
Yes, of course. It has everything to do with the topic. You’ll see, insha-Allah.
Here are the Imam’s words. They’re from a poem of his.
Love of Allah (Poem)
Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah
Excerpted from An-Nooniyyah
The love of the Beloved
must be unconditionally returned.
If you claim love
yet oppose the Beloved,
then your love is but a pretense.
You love the enemies of your Beloved
and still seek love in return.
You fight the beloved of your Beloved.
Is this Love or the following of shaytaan?
True devotion is nothing
but total submission
of body and soul
to One Love.
We have seen humans claim to submit,
yet their loyalties are many.
They put their trust here, and their hope there,
and their love is without consequence.
Remember yesterday’s post regarding how we can restore this ummah’s honour?
Well, here’s another e-book which gives us some guidelines on how to do so.
Be sure to read the advice of Umar ibn Abdil Aziz (rahimahullah) – one of the greatest khalifahs of this ummah – and that of Imam Ibn Taimiyah (rahimahullah) – one of the greatest scholars of this ummah. Eye opening stuff (but I haven’t finished reading it yet).
The Path to Honour and Establishment by Shaikh Abdul Malik Ar-Ramadani